As 2024 NHL Draft Days 1 and 2 are about to unfold late this month for a new class of selections, our “My Draft Days” series will look back at the never-forget-it day for members of the 2021, 2022 and 2023 Seattle draft classes. In his own words, fourth-rounder Tyson Jugnauth, a lefty defenseman who was integral to the Portland Winterhawks advancing to the Western Hockey League final this season, takes a look back at July 8, 2022, when he was picked 100th overall.

On draft day, my brother Colton and I got up early to do our usual 7 a.m. off-ice group workout. Colton is a year and a half younger than me. He’s a goalie [who played for Surrey in the British Columbia Hockey League last season], and we’re super close.

When we got back to our house, the second round was underway, and we joined my mom and dad [Eleonara and Anand, both physicians in Kelowna, BC] in the living room to watch. I’m a player who is known for staying calm on the ice and it carried over to how I was feeling on draft day. I slept well the night before, then woke up just kind of hoping to hear my name get called. I wasn’t really sure what to expect.

Sometime between 10 and 11 a.m. [Kelowna time], the fourth round started. We were all just sitting on the couch. The TV analysts were going through pick by pick, and all of a sudden, my brother kind of stands up, saying, “I think I just heard your name!”

My parents and I stood up, and I said, “I didn’t hear it,” and we were all wondering. The TV analysts were talking about a previous pick. Then my name popped up on the screen and we’re all hugging. I hugged Colton and then my mom and my dad. They were all super happy for me. It was just a crazy moment. You don't really forget that feeling.

As it turned out, my dad and I both got a text in a group chat from a friend attending the draft in Montreal. It was just a bunch of hearts and it came in right before Colton was saying he heard my name and then my name rolled on the TV screen, maybe 30 seconds ahead of us knowing. We didn’t really have time to figure out the heart emojis and what they meant until later.

It was just surreal. I was thinking maybe fourth, fifth or sixth round; maybe my name would be called [he was the third player picked in the fourth round]. But I wasn’t sure.

Right after the pick was announced on TV, my phone started blowing up with texts from friends and teammates. Shortly after the texts started, [Kraken GM] Ron Francis gave me a call, which was pretty cool. He’s a Hall of Famer, and he welcomed me, and we talked about the development camp. I flew out the next day to Seattle. It was all just crazy.

I did take the time to think about my family [three hockey-playing younger brothers with the three oldest, including Tyson, thinking youngest brother Braden, 13, to be the phenom in the family]. Both of my parents are doctors, and we have five kids in the family [four sons, including Logan, 16, and twin sister, Gabby, who is the accomplished figure skater in the family]. Looking back at it, what my parents had to do, like driving us around to different rinks. On weekends, when three of us were traveling to play, one of us might be in Vancouver, maybe another one in Calgary. We were always splitting up and going to different towns and rinks.

Colton and I have always been close and have kind of pushed each other our whole lives [playing organized hockey since age five and plenty of family shinny]. I’m grateful for my siblings; they’ve all helped me get picked by Seattle. I’m just so thankful for my family.

I was really hoping to get picked. But if I didn't, my attitude was “just move on, there’s always next year to prove teams wrong.” So I wasn’t really nervous, more hopeful, knowing in either case I can still be a great hockey player [WHL Portland fans can attest to a puck-patient, high hockey IQ D-man who joined the team mid-season, leaving NCAA Wisconsin to notch seven goals and 34 assists for 41 points in 41 regular season games, then producing four goals and 12 assists for 16 points in a deep 18-game playoff run].

We went out to an early dinner that night with the family and my grandpa. He’s from Germany and doesn’t really know that much about hockey. But my grandpa was super happy for me and proud. He drove me to a lot of games and practices himself and watched me play all the time. He’s my mom’s dad and it was fun to celebrate with him. That meant a lot to me.

The next day I’m on the plane to Seattle. I couldn't wait to get there. One minute I am getting picked by Seattle and in a blink I’m on a plane to development camp. It happens right away. I was so excited to meet people and see the facilities. I’ve been to some nice facilities before, but nothing like Seattle [Kraken Community Iceplex and Climate Pledge Arena].

Plus, to then get on the ice with the coaches and other prospects. I was on that plane thinking, “I’m on a flight to an NHL camp right when a few days before it’s not really in my mind.” It was an amazing 24 hours.

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